The Cape Croker Park - "A Dream Come True"
The Park officially opened in July of 1967, a credit to the Chippewas of Nawash Band who recognized the potential and intrinsic value of such an area to the Band members of present and future generations. Planning for the development of the Park was initiated in the early 1960's. Hastened by the need to provide on-Reserve employment for the Band members in a community where staggering numbers were unemployed. A request was made to the Federal Government through the Indian Affairs Branch and to the Department of Lands and Forests (Now the Ministry of Natural Resources) under the Parks Assistance Act. The application was accepted and the Park designated an approved Park by the Parks Integration Board on July 18, 1963 and by Order in Council No. OC2526/63 dated August 16, 1963. The Treasury Board of the Province also approved funds towards the purchase of the property, preliminary planning and limited initial improvement projects. Preliminary negotiations for the purchase of lands to form the Cape Croker Park were initiated in 1963 and concluded in 1964 with the acquisition of about 520 acres surrounding Sydney Bay. Construction of Access Roads, Buildings; Comfort Station & Gate House, Fences, Picnic Tables, Campsites, Nature Trails, Signs etc. began in earnest (A welcomed boost to the economy of a small community).
A full 50 years have past since the opening day in July 1967. The Cape Croker Park now directly employs several seasonal employees, and several summer students. The members of the Chippewas of Nawash now enjoy the spin-offs of such a business; e.g. Variety Stores, Gas Station which caters to the Band members and tourists alike, a ready market for fresh fish caught out of the waters of Georgian Bay. Some visitors to the Reserve are so taken by the beauty, the clean refreshing water and the relaxing atmosphere, that they now make this Reserve their home away from home by purchasing seasonal permits of their favourite campsite.
The Park lands envelope the Western portion of Sydney Bay which is an inlet from Georgian Bay, into which Cape Croker itself projects. The property is dominated by the craggy escarpment which rises to a maximum height of 250 feet above lake level. The Western half of the Park rises consistently from the shore to the Major Escarpment and is almost totally treed with mixed growths of substantial size and exists generally in an undisturbed state. A number of small spring fed streams lead into the head of Sydney Bay primarily from the marshy area, although some springs emanate on the lower levels of the Bank. The water depth at the head of the Bay is relatively shallow. The limestone bluffs which extend east of the Park property towards the Cape, provide numerous vantage points from which to view the Park and the head of Sydney Bay - a truly magnificent site cradled between craggy limestone bluffs.